Fun fact: The Miami Marlins have made the playoffs three times in their 30-year existence. The first two times, they won the World Series.
Is it fair to call the Marlins sellers? I’d argue they still have a shot as they’re only four games back for the final wild card spot, but they have a lot of high ceiling players on their team.
Sure, the Jays only have four more wins than the team from Florida. Regardless, we’ll look at expiring players as well as a position where they have a surplus of talented players.
We’ll start with the position player. Did you know that Joey Wendle has been to an all-star game, representing the 2021 AL East winning Tampa Bay Rays?
Joey Wendle’s 2022 season can be characterized as a contact hitter. This season, he’s slashing .267/.326/.338 with two homers (Miami does have a pitcher’s ballpark) in 129 plate appearances. His BB% sits at a solid 7%, but he rarely strikes out, as he only has a K% of 10.1%. His 2022 wRC+ sits at 105.
In his all star season, he posted a .265/.319/.422 slash line with 11 homers in 501 plate appearances. His wRC+ sat at 106 and he had a low BB% of 5.6% while his K% skyrocketed to a career high 22.6%. After this season, Wendle was traded for former first rounder, Kameron Misner, who’s ranked as the Rays thirteenth best prospect.
Joey Wendle – Miami Marlins (2)
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) May 11, 2022
Wendle’s best season came in his rookie campaign in 2018, where he posted a .300/.353/.435 slash line with seven homers in 545 plate appearances. His BB% was a previous career high 6.8% while his K% was at a previous career low 17.6%. This led to a wRC+ of 117, a career high (tied with 2020).
Defensively, Wendle can be classified as a left handed version of Espinal if you will. The 32-year-old plays all over the infield. At shortstop he has a career OAA of 2 and DRS of 5. At third base, Wendle has a career OAA of 2 and a DRS of 4. At second base, his natural position, he has an OAA of 19 and a DRS of 19.
This season, Wendle is making $4,550,000 and has a team option for the 2023 season for an AAV of $6,300,00. This would barely impact the Blue Jays payroll.
Do the Jays need another infielder? Not really. However, if the Jays are going to make some moves before the deadline, one player I could see getting shipped out is Cavan Biggio. If that’s the case, then the Jays could hypothetically look at platooning Espinal and Wendle.
Anthony Bass is a former Jay who got away. Why? Well the 34-year-old pitcher has had a pretty impressive season.
In 25.2 innings pitched with the Jays in 2020, Anthony Bass posted a 3.51 ERA and a 3.62 FIP with a K/9 of 7.36 and a 3.16 BB9.
After signing with the Marlins in the 2020-21 off season, Bass put up a solid ERA of 3.82 and a FIP of 4.93 in 61.1 innings pitched. His K/9 jumped to 8.51 while his BB/9 had a spike to 3.52.
Anthony Bass, Front door 93mph Two Seamer. 🐟
Out of respect, Robbie turns around to show the name on the back of his jersey to let Bass know what he thought of the pitch. 👀
I agree: pretty, Gross, man. pic.twitter.com/8h2GjvfuaL
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 30, 2018
Somehow, he has become a high-leverage bullpen piece for the Marlins. His ERA has dropped all the way to 1.47 while his FIP is still a rather low 2.12. His K/9 only sits at 8.59, but his BB/9 has dropped to a career low 1.72.
According to Fangraphs, Bass has pitched 26.2 innings in medium or high-leverage, giving up just five earned runs for an ERA of 1.68, while owning a FIP of 1.21 in medium leverage (18 IP) and a FIP of 2.18 in high-leverage (8.2 IP).
The 34-year-old currently makes $3,000,000 and has a team option for the same amount in 2023. Much like with Wendle, his contract barely makes a dent on the Blue Jays payroll.
The Jays are already familiar with Bass, so I could see them at least looking in on the 34-year-old. However, Bass doesn’t get the swing and miss that the Jays may be looking for, so I doubt he is the bullpen ace they get, but he’s still an option.
Acquiring Pablo Lopez would cost quite a lot, but it’s becoming ever more evident that the Jays may need to trade one of their corner outfielders.
This season has been a career best for the 26-year-old righty. Lopez has a 2.91 ERA and a 3.60 FIP in 99 innings pitched. While he isn’t a strikeout king by any means, his 8.91 K/9 is quite solid alongside his low BB/9 of 2.55.
Pablo López, Filthy 79mph Curveball. 😷 pic.twitter.com/b68JKKzQmE
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 28, 2022
His 99 innings pitched is only 12.2 innings away from his career high, as the young pitcher has dealt with injuries his entire major league career. However, with full health he has become Miami’s number 2 in the rotation, after following Sandy Alcantara.
Pablo Lopez has a five pitch mix. He has a four seam fastball that he throws 38% of the time that averages 92.8 mph. His secondary fastball is a sinker, which he throws 7.6% of the time around 88 mph. He also throws a cutter that averages 88.5 mph which he throws 13% of the time.
His off-speed stuff consists of a changeup which he throws 37% of the time, averaging 87 mph. He also has a curveball that he only throws 4.6% of the time at 80.1 mph.
Pablo López, Wicked 87mph Changeup 👌 pic.twitter.com/p5wp3pf75b
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 9, 2022
At 26-years-old, one could imagine that Lopez could still improve as he moves into his prime.
The reason why Pablo Lopez would likely cost so much is due to the fact he’ll be under team control until after the 2024 season, where he’ll be 28-years-old This season, the 26-year-old is only making $2,450,000, which means like Wendle and Bass, his salary would barely dent the Jays payroll.
A young team with playoff aspirations may be hesitant to trade a starting pitcher, especially a young pitcher who has filled in nicely as a number two in the rotation.
However, the Marlins have a ton of young starters with high ceilings, such as Trevor Rogers, Braxton Garrett and Sixto Sanchez. Not to mention, they have quite a few Top 100 starting pitchers in their high minors.
If the Marlins want to pave the way for some of those players while getting the most return (which includes better position players), trading Lopez is the way to go. I wrote about this earlier in the season, which you can read here.
The Jays desperately need a starter, and while Max Castillo has shown plenty of promise, they need a pitcher who has big league experience. Lopez is that guy.
If I am the General Manager of the Jays, I don’t want Kikuchi anywhere near the starting rotation, at least for now. You can slot Pablo Lopez in between Gausman and Berrios in the rotation, and it starts to look like one of the better rotations in the league. Especially if Berrios starts pitching like he did before this season.
Are the Marlins an ideal partner:
I believe they are, but not in the way that the other teams in this series have been. While the Marlins have a losing record, they aren’t out of the playoffs.
So here’s what I’d be proposing:
Prospects (you pick)
Miami could use an upgrade in right field, as their regular right fielder, Avisail Garcia has a 69 wRC+, whereas Teo’s wRC+ sits at 111 (142 in 2020, 132 in 2021). Cavan Biggio would replace Joey Wendle, but with a different set of versatility (OF/1B/2B). He’s also under team control until after the 2025 season.
I don’t name prospects, but you can plug in who you think would be going the other way in terms of who the Jays would trade.
With all that being said, I think with a few other moves, the Jays could add more lefties, a starting pitcher and a few more pen pieces to turn around their season.
Previously in the series…
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D. I have no idea who I’m doing next. Maybe the Angels or Colorado. Stay tuned!